Involvement of RNA in the Synthesis of Proteins

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Science  05 Apr 1963:
Vol. 140, Issue 3562, pp. 17-26
DOI: 10.1126/science.140.3562.17


We can now have considerable confidence that the broad features of protein synthesis are understood. The involvement of RNA is very much more complicated than was imagined in 1953. There is not one functional RNA. Instead, protein synthesis demands the ordered interaction of three classes of RNA—ribosomal, soluble, and messenger. Many important questions, however, remain unanswered. For instance, there is no theoretical framework for the ribosomal subunits, nor for that matter, do we understand the functional significance of ribosomal RNA. Most satisfying is the realization that all the steps in protein replication will be shown to involve well-understood chemical forces. As yet we do not know all the details. For example, are the DNA base pairs involved in messenger RNA selection of the corresponding amino-acyl-sRNA? With luck, this will soon be known. We can thus have every expectation that future progress in understanding selective protein synthesis (and its consequences for embryology) will have a similarly well-defined and, when understood, easy-to-comprehend chemical basis (62).